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Reports: Obama May Defy Congress Over Guantanamo Detainees

Photo reviewed by the U.S. military shows a guard looking out from a tower in front of the detention facility on Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base in Cuba. (file)

U.S. news outlets say the White House is considering using a special written pronouncement to reject congressional lawmakers' attempts to limit President Barack Obama's authority to transfer inmates from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The restrictions are included in a massive military spending bill approved by Congress late last month. They ban the president from moving any prisoners from Guantanamo Bay to U.S. soil for prosecution in a civilian court, and prohibit the transfer of prisoners to foreign countries without the approval of the secretary of defense.

A small group of Obama advisers is debating whether to recommend the president issue what is known as a "signing statement" when he signs the defense bill into law, asserting he has the constitutional authority to bypass the restrictions.

Such a statement would likely lead to a clash between the Democratic president and congressional Republicans, who are set to take control of the House of Representatives this week.